Over a dozen high-profile Twitter accounts, including Joe Biden and Elon Musk, appear to have been hacked on Wednesday as part of an apparent scam that promised free bitcoins to tens of millions of users.
“Feeling greatful, doubling all payments sent to my BTC address!,” read the a since-deleted tweet on Musk’s account, which misspelled the word grateful. “You send $1,000, I send back $2,000! Only doing this for the next 30 minutes.”
That was preceded by another quickly deleted tweet from Musk that said he was “feeling generous because of Covid-19.”
Other popular Twitter accounts that appear to have been hacked include the richest man in the world, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the second richest man, Bill Gates, former US President Barack Obama, presidential hopeful Kanye West, reality TV star Kim Kardashian, and the corporate account for iPhone maker Apple.
All hacked accounts were verified and instructed followers to send bitcoin to a specific address in order to receive free bitcoin.
“Everyone is asking me to give back, and now is the time,” a deleted tweet from Gates read. “I am doubling all payments sent to my BTC address for the next 30 minutes.”
A spokesperson for Gates said in a statement that the tweets were not sent by the Microsoft founder and known philanthropist. “This appears to be a part of a larger issue that Twitter is facing.”
But at least one of the bitcoin wallets linked to the tweets has benefited — to the tune of over 12 bitcoin, worth over $110,000 at the current exchange rate, according to bitcoin data provider Blockchain.com.
“We are aware of a security incident impacting accounts on Twitter. We are investigating and taking steps to fix it. We will update everyone shortly,” the company said in a tweet. Shares of the popular messaging company dropped 4 percent in late trading.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last year had his account taken over by a group of hackers calling themselves #ChucklingHella. The account immediately went on to tweet out the N-word in all caps before adding: “intel is there’s a bomb at Twitter HQ.”
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